Index optimization is always interesting subject to me. Every time I receive request to help optimize query or query on any specific table. I always ask Jr.DBA to go over following list first before I take a look at it. Most of the time the Query Speed is optimized just following basic rules mentioned below. Once following checklist applied interesting optimization part begins which only experiment and experience can resolve.
Reference : Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com) , Various References